Johnny Cash collectible returned to city

Sunday, June 20, 2010 at 11:45pm

Among his other obsessions — cocaine, murder, June Carter — Johnny Cash had a real thing for trains.

The Man in Black collected train memorabilia, a love that culminated in 1979, when he was given Madison’s dilapidated Amqui Station. And by given, of course, we mean Cash literally took the old train depot to his spread in Hendersonville, where he rehabilitated it and filled it with his rail-ridin’ goodies.

But when Cash died in 2003, Halo Properties, a Hendersonville development company, bought the depot and donated it back to Madison. The actual structure was returned to a site near the original, and the nonprofit civic enrichment group Discover Madison set about a major restoration and improvement project that was unveiled to the public earlier this month.

The renovated depot — once a stop 40 to 50 times a day for trains running along the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, a 187-mile connector that opened in 1859 and has basically run ever since — is a clever mix of past and future. While workers were careful to preserve historical details, they also introduced a number of forward-thinking “green” elements (consider the age-appropriate window frames, for example, with the double-paned glass inside them).

“First of all, it’s environmentally friendly,” Nathan Massey, president of Discover Madison and an electrical contractor who did much of the work on the depot, said. “It lowers our cost of operation.”

In fact, Massey said, installing a geothermal heating and cooling system, energy-saving windows and a computer system to control the lighting wound up costing the same as if they’d taken a more traditional route.

Massey said he hopes the revitalization will spark interest among residents and other local developers in “green” technologies. As well, he said, Discover Madison expects the depot to foster some renewed community among residents — they’ve already held a bluegrass concert there, and a public breakfast and writers’ night are on the calendar.

The nonprofit is operating the depot as a museum and visitors center; along with the history, there’ll be a nod to Mr. Cash.


4 Comments on this post:

By: ThomasB on 6/21/10 at 8:56

Wait a minute, let me get this straight. Massey who is president of Discover Madison and an electrical contractor did much of the work. That smells rotten to me. This Massey guy is a piece of work.

By: THEPROSSERS on 6/21/10 at 8:18

whoa Thomas B, the article is wrong! Yes, Massey is the president of Discover Madison and owns Massey Electric, however, his company did not do ANY work on the station, that would be a conflict of interest. Come see how fantastic the Amqui Station is on July 17th at the Community Breakfast.......register at, hope to see you there!

By: Brightones4 on 6/22/10 at 9:37

Thank you to Rains Electric who did a fantastic job as the electrical contractor for Amqui Station.

By: DiscoverMadisonInc on 6/22/10 at 10:12

Yes, thank you to Rains Electric and ALL of our wonderful contractors who worked on the Station. Our Community Breakfast is on July 15, 2010 at 7 AM, all Madison community members are invited. Our first Writers Night is July 22nd. Please visit us on Facebook, search for Amqui Station and Visitors Center, for more event information. Also visit our website at